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  China's Chang'e-3: Viewing, questions, comments (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   China's Chang'e-3: Viewing, questions, comments
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-01-2013 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
China's Chang'e-3: mission viewing, questions, comments
This thread is for comments and questions regarding China's first robotic moon landing mission and the updates published under the topic: China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe and rover "Yutu".

Chang'e-3, encompassing a lander and a moon rover, will mark the first time China has attempted to soft land a spacecraft on the surface of a celestial body.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-01-2013 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Launch of the Long March 3B rocket with the Chang'e lander and "Yutu" rover is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. CST (1830 GMT) on Sunday (Dec. 1).

The weather at the launch site, the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, is reported to be favorable, where the local time at lift off will be 1:30 a.m. Monday (Dec. 2).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-01-2013 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Live coverage of the launch is about to begin on CCTV News.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-01-2013 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chang'e-3 and the Yutu rover are now on its way to a lunar landing on Dec. 14.

The lander successfully separated from its Long March 3B rocket, deployed its four legs and extended its two solar panels.

lspooz
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posted 12-01-2013 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lspooz   Click Here to Email lspooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boy, I hope the probe is successful, both for 'the more the merrier' aspect as well as a possible incentive for the US to increase NASA's budget (and goad more private sector space spending...)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-01-2013 03:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like this mission has already spawned a partnership between U.S. and Chinese interests.
Moon Express Enables Private American Scientific Collaboration on China Moon Mission

Moon Express, a U.S. commercial lunar enterprise, is enabling scientific collaboration between the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and China's Chang'e-3 Moon mission successfully launched today from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, southwest China.

The U.S. private sector collaboration on Chang'e-3 is made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between ILOA and the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) on September 4, 2012 in Hawaii, and a MOU signed between ILOA and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on August 13, 2013, in Beijing.

The first such private U.S/China collaboration, the parties have agreed to an exchange in kind in which ILOA participates in observing and receives Galaxy, astronomical images from Chang's-3's Ultra-violet telescope and NAOC receives observing time on ILOA telescopes travelling to the Moon aboard Moon Express landers in 2015 and 2017. The collaboration is scientific and educational in nature, and will establish a cooperative program to conduct Galaxy, Astronomical Imaging for Global 21st Century Education from the lunar surface.

"As ILOA prepares for Galaxy 21st Century Education collaboration with the Chang'e-3 UV telescope, I hope today's successful launch of China's Chang'e-3 probe to the Moon will have a great impact on U.S.A. space policy in a positive and constructive way to insure the U.S.A. has robotic Moon operations leading to permanent human presence," said ILOA Founding Director, Steve Durst.

Moon Express has designed and built the International Lunar Observatory precursor (ILO-X) under contract to the ILOA and will deliver it to the lunar surface aboard Moon Express' inaugural mission in 2015. ILO-X is the world's first private lunar telescope and will be accessible over the internet, pioneering a new era of global space research and citizen science with space observation and communication technology on the Moon. The ILO-X is a precursor to the larger, permanent lunar observatory "ILO-1" – a multifunctional 2-meter dish scheduled to be delivered by Moon Express to the Moon's South Pole in 2017 to conduct Galaxy observation and commercial communications activities.

"We are beginning a new era of commercial lunar exploration," said Bob Richards, Moon Express co-founder and CEO and ILOA founding board member. "Moon Express is proud to be working with ILOA on a historic private sector science collaboration with China on the Chang'e-3 mission that, if successful, will be the first American scientific activity on the lunar surface in over forty years."

SpaceAholic
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posted 12-04-2013 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Range safety issues with the launch.
Two houses in China were damaged by falling pieces of a rocket launched on Monday, prompting calls for an insurance scheme to cover future damage from the country's ambitious space program, the China Daily newspaper reported on Wednesday.

No casualties were reported after the successful launch of China's first moon rover, Chang'e-3, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwestern province of Sichuan, but debris from the launch hurtled into a village in neighboring Hunan province.

A photograph in the newspaper showed a farmer standing by a desk-sized chunk of the rocket that had apparently smashed through his wooden roof.

SkyMan1958
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posted 12-04-2013 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given its location closer to the equator (with the concomitant boost to launch payloads), and the fact that to the east is the Pacific, hence no (Chinese) dwellings to fall on, I suspect that China's new launch center on the island of Hainan will become the preeminent Chinese launch site.

fredtrav
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posted 12-05-2013 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Someone teach the farmer to use eBay and he will have the money to fix his roof. LOL. Or maybe Heritage or Regency should contact him about their next auction.

onesmallstep
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posted 12-05-2013 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At least this time, there is more openness about any launch failures/debris in the Chinese press, unlike in the 1980s after that horrific booster failure that left dozens killed in a village and a compound next to the launch site.

Glint
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posted 12-05-2013 12:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Debris pictures at China Car Times: China’s Rocket Drops Through The Roof

music_space
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posted 12-08-2013 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So the spacecraft is in orbit and will land on Dec. 14th. Any orbital science objectives?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-08-2013 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To my knowledge, no. The Change'e-3 probe was to spend its week in lunar orbit proceeding through six stages of deceleration to place it into the desired altitude for the final descent.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-14-2013 06:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Live coverage of the Chang'e-3 landing has just begun on CCTV News.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-14-2013 07:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Successful landing at 7:11:18.695 a.m. CST (1311 GMT or 9:11 p.m. Beijing time)!

keith.wilson
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posted 12-14-2013 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for keith.wilson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was very impressed with the live coverage of the landing of Chang'e-3 provided by China TV. Good graphics, animations, lots of information and live pictures from the spacecraft and from mission control. Great to see a spacecraft on the lunar surface again after 37 years. Looking forward to good coverage as the mission progresses including the operation of the rover.

nasamad
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posted 12-14-2013 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great news, can't wait to see images from the surface.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-14-2013 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's some question (given the animations shown on the screen in China's mission control) as to where Chang'e-3 landed.

Prior to touch down, the target landing site was said to be Sinus Iridum, the Bay of Rainbows. The animations suggested a landing in Mare Imbrium (Sea of Showers).

The landing took place considerably earlier than originally expected, and about 30 minutes before the pre-landing target as reported by Chinese media.

On edit: A screen in mission control gave the landing coordinates as 19.51° W, 44.12° N.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-14-2013 09:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First view from the lander's monitoring camera:

Headshot
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posted 12-14-2013 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the crater near the top of the color still photo can be seen during the landing image sequence. It is going out of view near the bottom of the landing frames. Both craters have blocky debris on their rims closest to the landing point and there is one "large" block near a depression that is adjacent to the large crater rim.

cspg
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posted 12-14-2013 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rover has been deployed.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-14-2013 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The rover's six wheels first touched the lunar regolith at 2:40 p.m. CST (2040 GMT or 0440 Beijing time Dec. 15).

(Accelerated time lapse animation via The Planetary Society; video via CCTV.)

keith.wilson
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posted 12-14-2013 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for keith.wilson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They landed in Mare Imbrium instead of Sinus Iridum despite what the TV reports are saying. Touchdown was in the eastern zone of the selected landing rectangle. This appears to have happened because they landed an orbit early. Anyone know why they chose to land early?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-15-2013 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Chang'e-3 lander and Yutu rover photographed each other, which Chinese space officials declared as the moment of mission success:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-15-2013 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chang'e-3's full descent to the moon (rectified view):

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-15-2013 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keith.wilson:
Anyone know why they chose to land early?
Lunar scientist Paul Spudis writes about the change of landing sites for Air & Space magazine:
Whether by design or fortuitous accident, this site is actually more interesting geologically than the spacecraft's original destination...

Headshot
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posted 12-15-2013 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very interesting sequence. Thanks for posting it Robert.

The folks over at the LRO site have posted some images of where they believe the landing site is. As noted elsewhere, it will be around Christmas before LRO flies over that area again to confirm the lander's exact location.

keith.wilson
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posted 12-15-2013 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for keith.wilson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phil Stooke from the Unmanned spaceflight.com site has posted some locator images for the landing site using data from LRO, and Chang'e 3. Check it out.

Michael1976
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posted 12-15-2013 08:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael1976   Click Here to Email Michael1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know how far from any of the Apollo Landing sites is the China Rover on the moon? Would be a great and interesting sight to see the rover (roll) over and capture the one the landing sites on its camera(s)...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-15-2013 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 15 landing site is the closest to where Chang'e-3 touched down, and it is at least 500 miles (800 km) away.

The Yutu rover has a projected lifespan of about three lunar days (about three Earth months), during which time it is expected to venture no more than 2 miles (3 km) from its landing site.

Ronpur
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posted 12-16-2013 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is wonderful to see new pictures of the surface of the moon again. It is still beautiful.

dom
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posted 12-16-2013 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Incredible images that show how video technology has improved since the 1970s!

Headshot
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posted 12-16-2013 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amen to that!

I recall getting up in the middle of the night to "see" Surveyor 1 land in early June 1966. Back then, those 200 and 600 line black and white images seemed to be so magnificent.

Times have changed.

issman1
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posted 12-17-2013 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What the Chinese have accomplished in Chang'e 3 partly answers the question posed at the end of Apollo 13. It doesn't matter to me which country/entity landed a spacecraft on the Moon, as long as someone has after so long.

butch wilks
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posted 12-21-2013 12:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter get to see the landing and take photographs of Chang'e-3 coming to land as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter did with the landing of Phoenix and Curiosity?

Maybe one of the many orbiters up there saw the landing or has been over the landing site since then and photograph it, as I think we'd all like to see the photos?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-21-2013 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The landing itself was not viewed by NASA's lunar spacecraft but the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is expected to pass over the landing site around Christmas day, so we should soon see photos of Yutu and Chang'e-3 on the surface.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-22-2013 06:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In addition to the new photos of the rover and lander under the mission's status topic, Chinese television also aired a panorama of the landing site taken by the Chang'e-3 spacecraft.

Ken Kremer and Marco Di Lorenzo assembled stills from the broadcast to present the panorama in whole:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-30-2013 06:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Dec. 24, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) acquired a series of six LROC Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) image pairs of the Chang'e-3 landing site.
The rover is only about 150 cm wide, yet it shows up in the NAC images for two reasons: the solar panels are very effective at reflecting light so the rover shows up as two bright pixels, and the Sun is setting thus the rover casts a distinct shadow (as does the lander). Since the rover is close to the size of a pixel, how can we be sure we are seeing the rover and not a comparably sized boulder? Fortuitously, the NAC acquired a "before" image (M1127248516R) of the landing site, with nearly identical lighting, on 30 June 2013. By comparing the before and after landing site images, the LROC team confirmed the position of the lander and rover, and derived accurate map coordinates for the lander.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-25-2014 06:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not many details, but it seems there is a problem with the rover, Xinhua reports.
China's moon rover "Yutu" (Jade Rabbit) has had a mechanical control abnormity, and scientists are organizing an overhaul.

The abnormity occurred due to "the complicated lunar surface environment," the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said on Saturday, without giving further details.

The abnormity emerged before the rover went into its second dormancy at dawn on Saturday as the lunar night fell again, according to the SASTIND.

dom
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posted 01-27-2014 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some are speculating that the lid on the rover (does it have one like Lunokhod?) might not have closed properly. It could now freeze during the lunar night as temperatures will get too low for its internal (nuclear isotope?) heater. I think the Chinese are preparing everyone for the worst but there might still be hope. Only time will tell...


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